The Socialists and Democrats are alarmed at the warning of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) of the death risk from starvation in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria is rising and call for urgent action to prevent the looming famine. The S&Ds also voiced their concerns that the situation would evolve to a humanitarian crisis in the region, thereby exacerbating the already mounting displacement of people. According to UNHCR, the famine which is mostly caused by droughts, would entail a steep increase in the numbers of people arriving to Europe in 2017.
S&D vice-president Elena Valenciano MEP said:
The warning of the UN Refugee Agency is alarming. At the moment, 20 million people are severely affected by the droughts in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen out of whom 4.2 million are refugees. In South Sudan alone, more than one million people are at the brink of famine, whereas in Ethiopia, 50-79 per cent of the newly arriving Somali refugee children are facing starvation.
Droughts are causing acute malnutrition, which coupled with conflict in South Sudan and collapsing economies lead to insecurity in Somalia and rising internal displacement. In this context, the risks for the entire populations can prove disastrous.
The European Union and the international community must urgently scale up efforts to prevent a new humanitarian crisis. We, thus, call on the EU and other donor countries to increase funds in order to urgently avert the looming famine.
GPF president, S&D MEP Enrique Guerrero Salom said:
Millions of people around the world are suffering from hunger as a cause of war, many of them long-lasting, such as climate change and poverty. This situation forces them to move in search of food and safety. Malnutrition particularly targets children, who need more food assistance. Our immediate response requires increasing efforts and awareness of this very grave situation. We cannot allow a repeat of the situation in 2011, when more than 260,000 people lost their lives in the Horn of Africa because of the drought. It is urgent that funding deficits are addressed so that a humanitarian crisis of this nature can be avoided.